Carolina Man: Sometimes You Give Something Up to Get Something More

CAROLINA MAN

Carolina ManDare Island #3
Virgina Kantra
Penguin/Berkley  04 Mar 2014
18 – AND UP
E-Book/Mass Market Paperback/Audio   304 pages
Galley provided by publisher  via NetGalley for review purposes.  No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.

 

Meet the Fletchers of Dare Island
Steady Matt, the son who stayed
Ambitious Meg, the daughter who never looked back
And warrior Luke, the Marine who never expected to return.

A heartwarming new novel in New York Times bestselling author Virginia Kantra’s beloved series about family ties, second chances, and the power of love…

Marine Luke Fletcher is determined to do his duty—first to his country and now to his ten-year-old daughter, the unexpected legacy of a high school girlfriend. But his homecoming to Dare Island in North Carolina’s Outer Banks challenges his plans for the future and forces him to face everything that’s missing in his life. He wasn’t prepared to lose his heart to this child he never knew. Or to fall hard for coolly reserved small town lawyer Kate Dolan.

Former military brat Kate knows Marines can make lousy fathers…and she’s got the scars to prove it. Giving her heart to a man who’s bent on leaving seems one sure way to have it broken.

Now, no matter what it takes, Luke must prove to Kate and to his daughter that Semper Fi is more than a motto—and to himself that there’s more than one way to be a hero.  Penguin’s Book Page

My Take!This is one of those love stories  that is perfectly  balanced between family  and corps,  sweetness and spiciness, between heartbreak and happiness.

It was so engrossing − not because there was action or mystery, but because of the connections between characters developing throughout the book.  Several other story lines are closed up as this one gets underway. In fact I was so engrossed I forgot to take notes, but I did want to stop whatever I was doing and a. move to the Outer Banks, and b. Find a Marine. (Of course, I am happily married so the thoughts were mere fantasy)

This is a series where family is very important.  In this particular book we get a glimpse of three families.  The first is, of course, the Fletchers, and they are really good, down-to-earth, people.  They have three kids who are each successful in their own way.  Luke’s daughter’s late mother’s family is also written about and they seem like a family you might see on The Jerry Springer Show. And Kate Dolan’s family is visible through her memories and it was a massively dysfunctional family that is still awful.  Kate’s experiences with her father show another side of military life. The two nasty families throw the nice one into  relief, and highlight the Fletchers’ decency.

Kantra does an excellent job defining Luke’s character through thoughts,  emotional struggles, dialogue, action and a little humor: learning about his daughter and not whining about his bad luck,  his treatment of the dog he rescues in Afghanistan, his learning to be a dad, owning it when he screws up.  He doesn’t take relationships lightly. Kate gets well drawn too. Neither is a stock character. And, I like how Kantra pushes them through the difficulties of their situations to find solutions and resolution.

I loved Luke’s and Taylor’s (his daughter) developing relationship. Learning to be a father; learning you are a father is hard enough, but finding it out when you’ve been deployed, and the child is ten, wow! Creating a marine who is tough in battle, but compassionate too is a tricky matter. Luke is  open to assistance and advice, and ultimately makes what I would say are good decisions about what is important in his life. It was especially affecting because it had always something else that was important before he learned about Taylor. He is shown as redefining himself without coming out of character, but realizing he wasn’t defined entirely by his military service; that he was in the military as a way of making his parents proud, to continue a tradition. I really liked how it was done, and he is never portrayed as a cocky stud.

The hook ups are sweet and give some nice steam without too much heat. If you like tamer steamy romance this will suit you.

This book was an excellent and engrossing read and it made me want to read the other books in the series.  But, it stands alone even with some back story references. I highly recommend this one!

Relevant Links Virginia Kantra At Penguin

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